Recently I was able to play developer Round 8 Studio and Neowiz’s newest version of their collaborative effort, Bless Unleashed on Xbox One. It has had quite a development cycle, but now with Bandai Namco stepping in as publisher, it seems we are possibly playing a version more in line with what is expected for their final release.
Bless Unleashed is a free-to-play MMO Action RPG heavily inspired by western high fantasy. Your character must embark on various quests throughout the land of Lumios, a world recovering from a battle of the gods. You can choose between 5 major classes: crusader, mage, beserker, ranger, and priest. Along with these classes, you can select one of four races: Humans, Elves, Varg, and Ippin. With each race, you are also able to choose your character’s gender. During my playtime, not all races were available for each class. However, we were informed that more races were likely to be available for various classes upon release.
Along with these options, you can customize the appearance of your character quite a bit. During my time with the game, I could see where someone could get lost doing this for a bit. I enjoyed how some of the proportions could be super exaggerated, knowing full well someone online will take advantage of this to make their character look as goofy as possible.
The idea of someone agonizing over the most minute detail of their character versus a play which made one with a large head seems like the perfect representation of online gameplay. You also have the option to purchase costumes and skins if you want to customize your character even further. I was also reassured these would purchases are purely cosmetic and are not pay to win.
While overall graphics seem alright to me, I was more impressed by the overall aesthetic and art design. Races and costumes are just downright pretty and deviate from traditional western-inspired RPGs just enough to make things a bit more original and exciting.
Thankfully for me, actual gameplay and combat didn’t take long to get the hang of. As you strike your enemy in a fight, a display opens on your right, informing you what combo you will perform if you hit the according button. It’s an excellent way to introduce combos, and it seems like that display will be an option that can toggle on and off once the player gets more familiar with their attacks. Each class also has moves that only pertain to them, giving the player some more variety.
It does seem like there is quite a bit offered at launch that will hopefully only build from that foundation. I should note that I played offline, so there are several features that I have yet to experience. During my playtime, I went through the tutorial as well as some free play. In all honesty, I think I learned much more from free play than I did from the tutorial.
The tutorial seemed more like a guide to talk to people, but at this stage, the tutorial is completely optional, so passing it entirely is no big deal. Bless Unleashed is full of potential. With a few tweaks and some decent quests, I could see players spending hours in the world of Lumios.
Bless Unleashed is set to release in 2020 on Xbox One.
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